Friday 20 March 2015

Room for a little one ?

Little Touches operates in a market that is dominated by a big two. It is a case of Strictly vs. X Factor, Coke vs. Pepsi or Boeing vs. Airbus as we take on Visit England and The AA. Some may say that I'm delusional, optimistic or downright crazy to think I am disrupting the status quo, but I always point to the wording in what is arguably the greatest ever television advertisement - Apple's Think Different:    

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things.
They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

OK, so maybe I am a long way off being even 1% as successful as the likes of Branson, Einstein, Lennon and Martin Luther King, but I live and breathe hospitality so I'm going to continue being one of society's outsiders and see where it takes me.  

In fact, validation that I'm on the right track with Little Touches came in the form of a report from HM Government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport which suggested that you know who have become a wee bit stuck in their ways: 

On the dilution of the power of the star ratings:
Although the Common Standards have been regularly reviewed and updated over the last ten years, there have been other, significant changes in the wider environment in which the assessment scheme operates. In particular, the growth of online booking services and social media allow consumers to access a far wider range of accommodation information and to post their own reviews, ratings and recommendations; consumer preferences and expectations have changed; and there is greater choice, diversity and innovation in tourist accommodation, as seen, for example, in the emergence of AirBnB.
 On the overall need for a big shake-up:

VE, together with VisitScotland and Visit Wales and the AA, consider it time to review the accommodation assessment schemes to take account of the changed operating environment for both businesses and consumers. A review has been commissioned with the aim of establishing a clear role for the schemes in the future, as a facilitator of business growth and support, and ensuring their relevance to consumers and businesses. The first stage of this review is due to be completed by the beginning of April 2015
The full report "Triennial Review of Visit Britain and Visit England" can be found here
134 pages in total, with P50 and a midges of P51 devoted to you know who

I am proud to say that Little Touches is already where VE/VS/VW and The AA need to be in 2015 and beyond. Our emphasis is unapologetically on the consultancy side of things, however we do still maintain an accreditation element at the end of our improvement process. We'll take care of your social media if you wish us to, plus all our improved establishments will be listed on LT Details Club, our special booking engine that is coming later this year. 

I would also like to make clear that - contrary to popular belief - I admire the power of the national accreditation schemes and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all the work they have done and continue to do in strengthening UK hospitality. In particular, their publications are always a good read - Quality Edge (Visit England) and intouch (The AA) and they know how to reward and recognise our industry's best. Nonetheless, in my opinion they are under-serving a colossal gap in the market by somewhat distancing their consultancy services from their accreditation schemes. C&A need to be closely intertwined, yet there has to be an unashamed consultancy bias in the era of online reviews and homes becoming hotels in 21st Century Britain. 

Nice hosts, nice room, nice breakfast is no longer enough when butchers, bakers and candlestick makers are adding to the hypercompetition many B&Bs, Guest Houses and Hotels face by flinging open the doors of their humble abodes through the likes of AirBnb. To stand a fighting chance, modern accommodation owners need coaching to excel at the intangibles and go beyond satisfying the ticks, crosses and Likert scales that have dominated for decades.    

Written by Tom Metcalf

Founder and Lead Consultant 

 Little Touches ®
Improving B&Bs, Guest Houses and Hotels
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  1. Tom I found your link to the report helpful, interesting to note that the report made no mention of the role of trip advisor, anywhere ! Do you think they even know it exists?

  2. Haha - well TripAdvisor is certainly not short on publicity, and that is the stance I took too when phrasing it "online reviews" ! They do however name AirBnb outright. For the record I am a fan of TripAdvisor, but perhaps the full debate is best left to an upcoming blog post.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my latest blog post, and if you would like to reveal yourself to me then please email as it would be great to find out more about the person behind the silhouette !

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